How do deforestation and reforestation affect the carbon cycle?
Trees provide numerous benefits, including cleaning our air by filtering out dust, pollution and greenhouse gases.
In this lesson, students learn the value of forests and their role in the carbon cycle. Using Web 2.0 tools, such as infographics and carbon calculators, students will investigate deforestation and its impact on climate and explore local and global reforestation efforts.
Deforestation is clearing Earth's forests on a massive scale, often resulting in damage to the quality of the land. The quickest solution to deforestation would be to simply stop cutting down trees or to manage forest resources. Reforestation efforts are a vital way to undo some of the damage that has already been done.
Reforestation has many positive effects on the environment. One of the most dramatic impacts is an increase of habitat for millions of species. Adding trees allows the forest to expand its canopy, which blocks the sun’s rays during the day and holds in heat at night. Forest soils are moist, and protection from sun-blocking tree cover keep them from drying out. Without this coverage plants and animals would experience extreme temperature swings that can be harmful.
Reforestation also impacts climate change. Trees play an important role in absorbing the greenhouse gases that fuel global warming and also anchor soil with their roots. When they are removed, the soil is transported and deposited in other areas releasing carbon into the air. Adding to forests mean smaller amounts of greenhouse gases entering the atmosphere.
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